When you invest in a set of new tires for your car, you can make them last longer if you’re smart about how you drive. Proper maintenance also extends tire life. You can save money on tire replacement over your car’s lifespan and increase your safety on the road with the following driving and tire care tips.
Stay On Top of Tire Pressure
The number one way to extend the life of your tires is to regularly check your tire pressure. Tires naturally lose a little bit of air over time, so topping them up every so often is necessary. If you drive consistently on tires that are low on air, you stress your tires to the point of no return; the structure of the tire breaks down from the lack of air support. Your fuel economy also suffers.
Check your pressure every couple of weeks. Air pressure can also decrease when the weather gets cold, so if you have fluctuating temperatures in the fall and spring, you will need to check it a little more often.
Newer cars monitor your tire pressure for you, but you should still check for minor pressure issues by hand. Since tire pressure monitoring measures significant pressure loss, you should never ignore a low tire pressure warning.
Get Your Tires Rotated
Unfortunately, many car owners forget or ignore the importance of tire rotations. Tires wear out unevenly on most vehicles, especially cars that rely on front wheel or rear wheel drive. Tires on the drive train portion of the car will wear out faster. To help balance this wear, rotating your tires helps to spread the load to all four of your tires at once.
Even if you have four wheel drive, rotating your tires is still a good idea. Four wheel drive vehicles still alternate drive ends. The only way to really ensure even wear on all your tires is to regularly rotate them. Your owner’s manual will let you know how often your tires need to be rotated, but a good rule of thumb is around every 5,000 miles.
Be Aware of Road Hazards
Most drivers know the dangers of driving over sharp objects like shattered glass or nails, but other road hazards can also shorten the life of your tires. For example, large potholes, uneven pavement, and large curbs can throw off your tire alignment if you hit them with too much speed.
Your alignment is what keeps the full width of the tire evenly in contact with the road. When you back into a curb or hit a pothole, your tire can list slightly to the left or right, meeting the road at a slight diagonal. One portion of the tire will experience much greater friction, and your tire’s lifespan will shorten considerably.
If you notice your car pulling to the left or right while driving on a straight stretch of road, it’s usually because your alignment is off. It’s simple for a local tire shop to test and fix your alignment when you get your tires rotated.
Inspect Your Tires for Damage
Tire damage often goes unnoticed by car owners. It’s not until the tire fails that you notice a puncture, leak, or crack. By proactively recognizing damage, you can get your tire repaired before it fails. Every few weeks, visually inspect your tires to check for:
- Bulging pockets on the sidewall. This indicates sidewall damage on the interior of the tire and represents a weak point where the tire might fail at a later date. You should have the tire checked, but usually, a bulging sidewall cannot be repaired. Fortunately, however, if you notice the bulge before it fails, you protect yourself from the danger of tire failure.
- Gouges and scrapes. Gouges and scrapes on the sidewall or the tread can weaken that section of the tire. You might shrug these off as cosmetic, but without having the tire inspected, you can’t know for sure.
- Nails and screws. Sometimes, you drive over a nail and the nail “plugs” the hole, resulting in only a slow leak. But continuing to drive with a nail in your tire weakens the tire over time and makes it more difficult to repair, especially if the tire splits at the entry site. Check for nails periodically, because you might not even know they’re there.
Noticing damage before tire failure and repairing it when it can be repaired is a key component of extending the life of all your tires.
Keep Your Tires Clean
Finally, you can work to keep your tires free from rough debris. Obviously, tires are tough and stand up to the friction of the road. But you should take the time to periodically clear sand and gravel from your tires to reduce the wear on the tire surface.
For more information on extending your tire life through good maintenance, driving habits, and repairs, contact us at Evans Tire & Service Centers.